October, 2020

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Welcome (YC W20) is hiring engineers to create jaw-dropping experiences

Article URL: https://jobs.lever.co/welcome?location=U.S.%20Remote&team=Engineering

Comments URL: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24941312

Points: 1

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The post Welcome (YC W20) is hiring engineers to create jaw-dropping experiences appeared first on ROI Credit Builders.

Who Ya Gonna Call? Don’t Let a Bad Small Business Credit Score Haunt You

It’s that time of year when you’re thinking about spooky things lurking behind every corner.  But your business credit score doesn’t have to be one of those things that goes bump in the night. You can call on these bad small business credit score busters to rescue you.

5 Bad Small Business Credit Score Busters

When it comes to a small business credit score, no score is the same as a bad score.  So, whether you actually have bad small business credit, or you don’t have a small business credit score at all, you are in the same boat.  The best place to start is at the beginning.

Bad Small Business Credit Score Buster #1: A Properly Established Business Credit File

No business credit is the same as bad business credit.   The trick is, most people miss out on all the treats credit in the name of their business has to offer because they think they have a business credit score.  They think that if they have a business and pay all the business bills on time, they’re golden. This is a trick indeed.

The truth is, while you do need to know how to build your business credit score, you have to do some pre-work, so to speak.  The problem is, business credit does not develop the same way personal credit does.  You have to actively establish business credit before you can build a small business score.

How to Establish Business Credit

The key to establishing business credit is to set up your business to be a separate, fundable entity apart from you the owner. This ensures that payments on business accounts are on your business credit rather than your personal credit.  Here’s how.

Check out our trustworthy list of seven vendors to help you build business credit. Conquer any recession!

Contact Information

You need separate business contact information.  That doesn’t mean you have to get a separate phone line or a separate location.  You can run your business from your home or on your computer.  

Actually, you can get a business phone number easily that works over the internet instead of phone lines ( this is called VOIP, or voice over internet protocol).  Even better, it will forward to any phone you want it to so you can use your personal cell phone or landline.  Calls to your business number will ring straight to you. 

In addition, you can use a virtual office for a business address. This is a business that offers a physical address for a fee, and sometimes they even offer mail service and live receptionist services.  Furthermore, some offer meeting spaces for those times you may need to meet a client or customer in person. 

EIN

You also need an EIN. This is an identifying number for your business that is similar to your personal SSN.  You can get one for free from the IRS.

Incorporate

Incorporating your business as an LLC, S-corp, or corporation is necessary to fundability.  It not only offers liability protection, but it is vital in separating a business from its owner. 

Business Bank Account

You have to open a separate, dedicated business bank account.  First, it will help you keep track of business finances.  It will also help you keep them separate from personal finances for tax purposes. 

Also, several types of funding are not available without a business bank account.  Many lenders and credit cards want to see one with a minimum average balance.  Another reason is, you cannot get a merchant account without a business account at a bank. That means, you cannot take credit card payments.  Even more important, a lot of lenders consider the date a business starts to be the date the business bank account opens.  Time in business is an important factor in business credit.   

Best Bank Accounts for Small Businesses

So, what are the best bank accounts for small businesses? There are tons out there, and each business’s needs are different.  However, there are a few things you should consider when trying to find the best bank account for your business.

Fees

This is first because it’s the most obvious, but it isn’t necessarily the most important, at least not in the way you may think.  You do not necessarily want the account with the lowest fee.  While there are probably free bank accounts out there, those may not actually be the best bank accounts for small businesses. Why? Sometimes you really do get what you pay for. Which leads to the next thing you need to consider.

Number of Allowed Transactions

You need to consider the number of transactions allowed per month before you are charged additional fees.  Many free accounts allow a very small number of transactions.  This is fine for some small businesses, but you also need to consider growth when determining how many transactions per month you need.

Even business bank accounts that are not free do not usually offer an unlimited number of transactions. Many have a transaction limit, and if you go over, will they charge additional fees. The key is to figure out not only how many transactions you need currently, but how many you may need as you grow. 

Also, make sure you can upgrade your account if you see you are consistently going over the allowed number of transactions. Find out what is entailed in doing so.  You don’t want to be in a situation where you have to get a whole new account if you can help it.  That’s a pain.  Just be sure to keep an eye on how many transactions you do each month.

Required Cash Deposits

Take a look at the deposit amounts allowed or required each month.  Make sure you can meet them.

Minimum Balance Requirements

Are you required to keep a minimum balance in the account to avoid additional fees?  If so, make sure you can meet that requirement.

Extras

If you find more than one account that is perfect for your business, take a look at the extras to break the tie.  Do they offer mobile banking? Will they waive fees if you hit a certain number of a specific type of transaction? Do they offer an app or text banking?

Finding the best bank accounts for small businesses takes a little finesse, because what works best for one business may not be what’s best for yours.  This should get you started.

Licenses

For a business to be legitimate it has to have all of the necessary licenses it needs to run.  If it doesn’t, red flags are going to fly up all over the place.  Do the research you need to do to ensure you have all of the licenses necessary to legitimately run your business at the federal, state, and local levels. 

D-U-N-S Number

This is a number issued by Dun & Bradstreet.  They are the largest and most commonly used business credit reporting agency.  You cannot be in their system without this number. Get one for free on their website.

Check out our trustworthy list of seven vendors to help you build business credit. Conquer any recession!

Bad Small Business Credit Score Buster #2: Continuity in Business Information

While this buster does not directly affect your business credit score, a lack of it can definitely get you denied, even with a stellar credit score. Here’s the deal.  Fraud is rampant, and lenders do not like to take chances. If they see one document with your business name that has an ampersand and one that uses the word “and” in place of the ampersand, it will set off fraud concerns and they will deny the loan.  This can happen even if you have a good business credit score. Your business name has to be exactly the same everywhere.

The same is true for addresses and phone numbers.  If you have one address on your website and a different one on insurance papers, it’s going to be a problem. All information related to your business has to be the same on all documents across the board.

Bad Small Business Credit Score Buster #3: Credit Line Hybrid

A credit line hybrid allows you to fund your business without putting up collateral, and you only pay back what you use. Qualifying is not as hard as you may think.   You do need good personal credit, at least 685.  In addition, you can’t have any liens, judgments, bankruptcies or late payments.  Also, in the past 6 months you should have fewer than 5 credit inquiries, and you should have less than a 45% balance on all business and personal credit cards.  It’s also preferred that you have established business credit as well as personal credit.  

But how is it a bad business credit score buster? Here’s how. If you do not meet the qualifications, you can take on a credit partner that does meet them.  Since it reports to the business credit reporting agencies in the business’s name, you can build credit for your business without having good credit to begin with.

Bad Small Business Credit Score Buster #3: Vendor Credit

Obviously small business lenders are not going to approve applications for loans based on a business credit score if there is no business credit score. Thus, you need a way to build a score without already having a score. This is the time when you need to know how to build your business credit score. Vendor credit is where you start after your business is set up properly.

Vendor credit is offered by what we like to refer to as “starter vendors.”  These are companies that will extend net terms on invoices without a credit check.  Then, when you pay the invoice, they report your payment to the business credit reporting agencies.

This helps you build business credit without already having business credit.  However, for it to work, you have to have your business set up as outlined above.  Also, since they do not check credit, they do have other ways of reducing risk.  These vary by vendor, but some general things they look at include:

  •   Length of time in business
  •   Average balance in business bank account
  •   Revenues

Usually it is some combination of these factors and others that starter vendors are looking for when it comes to extending net terms.

Bad Small Business Credit Score Buster #3: Responsible Use of Store Credit and Fleet Creditbiz credit score Credit Suite

Once you have some starter vendors reporting your payments, you will start to build a small business credit score. At that point, you will be eligible to get approval from some store credit cards.  These are cards from retailers that are meant to be used at their store only.  Apply with your business name, EIN, and contact information so they will report to your business credit report and not your personal credit report, thus building strong business credit.

As they report payments, your business credit score will continue to grow, and you can apply for fleet credit.  These cards are meant to be used for auto repair and maintenance and fuel costs. However, after you get enough of them reporting payments, your score will grow to the point you can apply for cash credit, meaning cards that can be used anywhere on anything, in your business name.

The key to this is, you have to handle the credit responsibly.  If you do not make consistent, on-time payments, you will achieve the opposite effect.

Call on These Bad Small Business Credit Score Busters and Never be Haunted Again

Whether you need to establish a small business credit score or annihilate a bad one, at least one of these tips should help.  If your business isn’t already set up properly, do that now.  Even if you do know how to build your business credit score, it will not matter if your business is not set up properly. The longer you wait the harder it gets. 

After that, be sure anytime you make changes you make them everywhere, and start working on vendor credit.  Small business lenders take all of this into account, so starting as soon as possible to get everything in line is vital. 

Check out our trustworthy list of seven vendors to help you build business credit. Conquer any recession!

The post Who Ya Gonna Call? Don’t Let a Bad Small Business Credit Score Haunt You appeared first on Credit Suite.

How to Use AI SEO to Improve Your Website

The internet has become the go-to source for everything from trivia about celebrities to fixing our kitchen sinks. But AI SEO may be changing the way marketers help their sites rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Failure to rank may result in your business missing out on valuable search traffic. Which means far less revenue for your business.

For a long time, you could get by with basic SEO strategies.

But not anymore.

With artificial intelligence (AI) taking over the world, you need to up your game.

What does that mean for your SEO strategy?

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an umbrella term that covers several different technologies, including machine learning (ML), computer vision, natural language processing (NLP), deep learning, and other, still emerging technologies.

What’s the point of AI?

AI has one principal goal – to perform (often laborious and mundane) cognitive tasks better and faster than humans. It is a technology designed to make our work and life easier.

In business, AI has already proven to be effective in increasing revenue.

In sales and marketing, 30% of AI adopters cited a 6-10% increase in revenue after implementing the technology.

impact of ai

These are pretty impressive results.

And yes, AI can also be beneficial to your SEO.

But, will AI replace SEO?

Emphatically – no!

Let’s talk about how AI is impacting SEO and why it won’t be taking over.

What is AI SEO?

AI has become a core component of major search engine algorithms, including Google’s Rankbrain and BERT.

This factor means if you understand AI and how it impacts search engines, you can boost your SEO using AI.

But that’s not all.

AI is also an excellent tool for data analysis, which is a significant part of designing an effective SEO strategy.

From helping you spot trending topics to discovering content gaps, you can do tasks faster and more efficiently with AI-powered SEO software.

AI and SEO are a match made in digital heaven.

Why is AI SEO Important?

Although both AI and SEO are complex disciplines, used together, they make it easier for you to boost your website’s rankings.

One thing to keep in mind about search engines is they always put the user first. They aim to deliver content that’s as relevant as possible.

Because of this, SEO is not just about keywords anymore. It’s about:

  • Concepts: What is the idea behind the searchers’ query?
  • Context: What is the intent behind the searchers’ query?
  • Customer satisfaction: What are the most relevant answers to the user’s query?

So, keyword stuffing doesn’t work anymore (and hasn’t since Hummingbird). For your content to rank, you need a great link building strategy and to optimize for AI-powered search engines.

Today (and in the future), one of the main factors that impact ranking is user experience. And AI is one of the best ways to provide website visitors with a positive experience.

Let’s quickly look at six ways it can help boost your SEO.

AI SEO: 6 Ways to Use AI to Improve Your Website

Now that you understand what AI is and how AI SEO can impact your site, let’s look at a few ways you can use AI SEO to keep up with modern SEO tactics.

Opportunity Discovery With AI SEO

One of the most important aspects of SEO is discovering hidden ranking opportunities that haven’t been exploited.

That’s one of the areas artificial intelligence SEO is proving to be effective in helping boost your website’s rankings. Powerful AI-powered SEO tools have emerged in the last couple of years, giving you more in-depth insight into:

  • Keywords you should be targeting
  • Link building opportunities

These and other insights that you can get from AI-powered SEO software are crucial to crafting a content strategy that will exponentially boost your website’s SEO.

With the competition to rank becoming fiercer by the day, you need to find keywords, topic ideas, and other SEO opportunities that aren’t too common.

Find opportunities that your competition is not exploiting, and you’ll have a much better chance at ranking.

Granted, finding these opportunities manually takes a lot of creativity, time, and hard work.

However, with the help of AI-powered SEO software, like BrightEdge, you can uncover golden SEO opportunities faster.

This is one of the main reasons AI must be a part of your SEO strategy.

Content Creation With AI SEO

Discovering content opportunities is only a small part of the battle to dominate the SERPs.

You also have to create content that hits the mark.

This is where AI can help improve your SEO.

How?

Once you’ve used a tool like BrightEdge to find keywords, you can use AI to help you know what kind of content you should create.

Once fed with your target keyword, AI-powered tools scour the web for content created around that keyword. In a few seconds, you’ll find:

  • Content gaps to exploit
  • Trending topics
  • The average number of sections to include

With insights like these, it becomes easier to create content tailored to solve specific problems for your audience, in short, personalized content that satisfies user intent.

Not only that, but AI can help you ensure that the content you create is relevant for each stage of your funnel.

Content creation is no longer just about creating poor quality content that ranks. It’s about creating content that users will find helpful.

And that’s exactly what AI will help you do.

Content Optimization With AI SEO

For a long time, content optimization has been about keywords, internal links, backlinks, and other on-page SEO tactics.

Those things still matter.

But search engines now look at more than just those indicators. Search engines are getting better at figuring out precisely what searcher’s intent is while searching.

How can you optimize your content for user intent?

You guessed it – with the help of AI.

AI SEO tools help you:  

  • Create topic clusters that answer user questions and rank
  • Know the optimum length of content on your given topic
  • Use keywords and LSI keywords correctly

With AI, you can optimize your content to meet Google’s E.A.T standards found in their search quality raters, guidelines. You can create content that expertly answers user queries authoritatively. And that’s the kind of content Google loves to serve its users.

But AI doesn’t end at helping optimize content for search engines. AI-powered writing tools like Atomic Reach and Grammarly (among a slew of others) also help ensure your writing makes for a pleasant read.

AI seo example grammarly

This also helps increase dwell time, another factor that indicates to search engines that your content is useful.

The bottom line is AI can help you create better optimized content that your readers will love and engage with.

Optimizing for Voice Search

One of the fastest evolving areas of search is voice search.

With more people relying on their voice-activated devices to search the internet, voice SEO (VSEO) has become an aspect of SEO you can’t ignore anymore.

Just take a look at how fast the number of voice-activated assistants is rising:

ai seo voice assistants

Statista forecasts that the number of voice assistants globally will reach 8.4 billion in the next few years — which is more than the world’s population.

Most voice searches are in the form of questions, so one of the main ways to optimize for VSEO is by answering the questions people are asking.

This is where AI tools come into play.

For example, tools like Frase help you create VSEO optimized content by showing you the questions searchers are asking. You can then create content around these questions.

frase ai seo

Another aspect of voice search is that it’s conversational. This is where AI principles like NLP come into play.

AI-powered content tools like Grammarly and Hemmingway can help you create more conversational content by recommending tone changes and highlighting hard to read passages.

One thing to note about VSEO is that it is hyper-competitive. That’s because voice assistants only give one answer – the one right at the top of the SERPs.

This means you have to pull out all the stops to ensure you rank well for VSEO.

Scale Your SEO

A significant part of SEO is tedious manual labor that has made it difficult for marketers to achieve results quickly.

AI has changed that.

AI-powered tools have taken a lot of the grunt work out of SEO by gathering data, analyzing it, and translating it into actionable steps,

More than that, however, you’ll find that artificial intelligence SEO software, like Alli AI, can help with your technical SEO as well. For example, it can help you:

  • Conduct website audits
  • Automatically optimize content
  • Fix duplicate content issues

On the on-page SEO front, AI SEO software can help you scale your content creation by analyzing top-performing content. The software can then help you create content strategies and briefs for optimized content.

As a result, you can quickly scale your SEO efforts — without overworking your team.

AI can take over the laborious, mundane, and time-consuming (and sometimes soul-sucking) aspects of SEO. This will free up your team to do other things that need human attention.

User Experience

Remember – Google’s (and other search engines) primary focus is the user.

This means user experience (UX) is a crucial element of SEO.

That’s probably why, in a rare announcement, Google let people know that page experience will be a significant ranking factor starting from the year 2021.

But what is page experience?

According to Google, page experience is a set of signals that measure a user’s satisfaction (or lack of it) when interacting with a web page. This goes beyond the page’s informational value.

It takes into account the overall UX the page provides.

Of course, pages with negative user experience won’t rank and those that offer users a positive user experience.

Where does AI come into play here?

With search engines thinking more like real human users, they can determine whether your page will provide users a positive UX or not.

This means when a user inputs a search query, search engines want to make sure they serve up:

  • Relevant and authoritative content
  • Pages with proper structure
  • Pages with easy navigation
  • Pages that load fast
  • Mobile-friendly websites

If users can enjoy a personalized experience on your website, this will increase dwell time and encourage sharing your content. Both are signals to search engines that your content is worth ranking higher on SERPs.

Today’s AI-powered SEO tools, like Market Brew, can mimic search engines and give recommendations on what you can do to improve your website’s UX.

As a result, you don’t have to guess whether the SEO gods will smile on your website with favor or not. You can know what pleases them (to a greater degree) and implement that on your website.

Conclusion

Ready or not, the future of SEO is here.

And it’s just two words – artificial intelligence.

By marrying these two disciplines, you can create a robust SEO strategy that’s bound to get you noticed. More than that, it will help you build a loyal audience.

Of course, for every business, that translates to a healthier bottom line.

Have you embraced the power of AI SEO yet?

The post How to Use AI SEO to Improve Your Website appeared first on Neil Patel.

How to Develop a Winning Digital Marketing Strategy in 4 Easy Steps

According to Smart Insights, 45 percent of companies don’t have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy; 17 percent of companies have a digital marketing strategy in place, but it’s separate from their marketing plan. 

This means 62 percent of companies are unprepared. 

They don’t have the strategy, tactics, or tools they need to market their business well. The bad news is that marketers waste 37 to 95 percent of their marketing budget. This is really common, but it doesn’t have to be; if you have the right digital marketing strategy in place, growing your business is easier. 

If you’re feeling unprepared, don’t worry. 

Today we’re going to cover the important ins and outs of creating a winning digital marketing strategy. 

Why You Need a Digital Marketing Strategy

Your digital marketing strategy gives your company direction. With a plan in place, you’ll have the details you need to help your company grow consistently. Your digital strategy document should: 

  1. Define your short and long term goals
  2. Show you who your customers are
  3. Show you where you can find them 
  4. Outline what you need to attract your customer’s attention
  5. Offer a step-by-step plan to attract and hold customer attention
  6. Show you how to analyze and improve marketing performance

Why go to all the trouble? 

Is it worth the time to create a strategy document? CoSchedule’s State of Marketing Strategy Report found winning marketers: 

  • Document their digital marketing strategy. Marketers who document are 538 percent more likely to achieve success than those who don’t.
  • Document their marketing processes. Those that do are 466 percent more likely to achieve success consistently over time than those who don’t.
  • Winning marketers set goals. Goal setters are 429 percent more likely to report success than those who don’t; 81 percent of these marketers achieve their goals; 10 percent of organized marketers always achieve their goals.
  • Winning marketers study their audience. These marketers are 242 percent more likely to conduct audience research four times a year. Almost 60 percent of the elite marketers featured in their study conduct audience research once or more per month.

It seems too good to be true, but it’s actually the reality.

The more time you spend thinking about your goals, getting to know your audience and planning how you’ll approach your digital marketing, the more likely you are to achieve success. 

What Should Be Included In Your Digital Marketing Strategy

I’ve already given you a sneak peek, did you catch it? 

To be successful, your digital marketing strategy should focus on four specific areas. 

  1. Setting goals, objectives, and key performance indicators (KPIs)
  2. Understanding and defining your audience 
  3. Creating and implementing your digital marketing strategy
  4. Auditing and improving your marketing campaigns 

You’ll want to break each of these areas down in enough detail so you (and your team) can work with each of these areas properly. With each of these areas, you should have a pretty clear idea about: 

  • The information, tools, and resources you’ll need to create a plan
  • Who will be responsible for creating your plan
  • Who will be responsible for implementing your plan
  • The KPIs and metrics you’ll use to measure the success (or failure) of your plan
  • The tools and resources you’ll need to implement and improve campaign performance

Each of these points needs to be defined clearly for the four steps areas above. 

Let’s take a closer look at these four areas and break things down a bit more clearly. 

1. Setting Goals, Objectives, and KPIs

This step is all about deciding what you want.. 

Planning your marketing strategy begins with setting quantitative and qualitative goals;  you’ll also want to set KPIs. These goals are sort of like the railroad tracks that keep your digital marketing strategy on the right track. 

What’s the difference between qualitative and quantitative goals?

G2 has a really helpful way of defining these, so I’m going to paraphrase their definition here. 

Quantitative goals can be counted, measured, or displayed using numbers. Goals like increasing monthly recurring revenue by 15 percent or boosting your conversion rate by 3 percent are good examples of quantitative goals.  Qualitative goals are abstract, descriptive, or conceptual — these goals are usually tied to the question “why.” Goals like increasing customer trust or improving brand reputation are examples of qualitative goals. They’re difficult to measure but just as important. 

You’ll want to make sure that your goals are: 

  • Challenging, realistic, and attainable
  • Tied to your company’s mission, vision, and values
  • Concise — 2-3 main goals 3-5 supporting goals
  • Specific, clear, and timely
  • Broken down into smaller, step-by-step milestones 

Your goals are important, but they’re difficult to achieve if you don’t have a step-by-step plan to follow. That’s where milestones come in; milestones are tactical. They’re great because you can use them to move towards your goals quickly. 

What about KPIs? 

Scoro has a list of 136 KPIs you can use to jumpstart your planning. I’ve listed a few of the more common examples you can use below.

  • Unique visitors per day/month
  • Pages per visit
  • New leads per day/month  
  • Marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
  • Conversion rates
  • Churn/attrition rate
  • Cost per conversion
  • Conversion rate per keyword
  • ROI per content
  • Click-through-rate on paid advertising

Focus is really important. 

It’ll be tough to focus on lots of metrics at once. Instead, you’ll want to focus your attention on a small number of really meaningful KPIs and metrics. 

Which ones are meaningful? 

They’re the KPIs that have the biggest impact on your company, the ones that generate consistent returns or a large amount of cash for your company. You’re looking for the 20 percent of KPIs and metrics that produce 80 percent of your results. 

That’s a pretty easy place to start. 

If you’re not sure which KPIs you should focus on, start with the common KPIs and metrics that have a direct impact on your business. These are typically metrics that focus on traffic, conversions, and optimization. 

2. Understanding and Defining Your Audience

You know what your goals and objectives are. Now you need to figure the same things out for your customer. This step requires some upfront research, but the success (or failure) of your digital marketing strategy starts here. 

Think about it. 

If you find the right customers, the people are excited to buy your product, then selling is a whole lot easier. It’s especially easier if you can understand what they want and how you can go about selling to them. So to do that, you’ll need information on your customer’s demographics and psychographics. 

What are you trying to figure out? 

  • The size of your market: You’ll want to figure out some important details about your market —is it new or established, niche or mainstream, broad or specialized. You’ll want to figure out who the major and minor players are, market expectations, areas you can disrupt, and the financial upside in your specific market. 
  • Who your customers are:  Are you targeting new moms, weekend warriors who are active on the weekends? You should have a basic idea of the customer you’re targeting. Are you focusing your attention on a specific niche, i.e., affluent travelers, price-conscious fashion aficionados? Use previous sales, competitor research, and market research sources like Ubersuggest and Google Trends to find the answer. 
  • Where they spend their time: Your customers have specific hangouts. Web developers spend their time on sites like ArsTechnica, Reddit, SitePoint, etc. New moms spend their time on sites like Babble, CafeMom, or Bundoo. If you know where your customers like to spend their time, you have a pretty good idea of the channels to target and the content to use. 
  • What they consume: This overlaps a little bit with where they spend their time. When there is an overlap, you’ll want to break the differences down even further. For example, your customers may spend a lot of time on Reddit, but this doesn’t tell you what they’re consuming on Reddit. Reddit is where they spend their time; the subreddit r/RobinHood is what they consume. See the difference? One tells you about their specific interests and desires; the other focuses on location. 
  • Why they buy: Your customers don’t buy for the same reasons. Sources like online reviews are a great way to get really helpful, in-depth feedback on why customers buy from customers themselves. You can also use tools like surveys or polls to attract responses. You’re not looking for an individual answer; you’re looking for trends. 
  • Where and how they buy: Do customers price shop offline, in your store, then order online from Amazon? Maybe your customers prefer a one-time purchase over recurring payment options? If you understand when and how your customers buy, you’ll be able to adjust your marketing around their expectations. Maybe that means persuading customers to do something different or stick with market expectations. 
  • What they need to buy: Online reviews are a helpful tool here as well. If you’re a new business, you can start with competitor reviews. Go through your competitor reviews, then make a list of the concerns brought up in each review. Look for customer objections, technology issues, complaints, reputation issues, any problem that customers felt were deal breakers. If you have reviews of your own, you can do the same thing there. 

Remember the research I shared earlier? 

Elite marketers study their audience, conducting audience research once or more per month. This step is important because it gives you the instructions you need to create a winning digital marketing strategy. Audience research shows you how to persuade your customers. 

This isn’t rocket science. 

But it requires more effort than most companies are willing to give. 

Here’s why. 

Most companies assume they already know their customers. They believe they know what their customers want and the best ways to approach them. 

They may be right. 

But the data they have on their customers changes often. Consistent research is the only way to stay on top of what your customers actually want. At this point, you’re ready for step three. 

3. Creating and implementing your digital marketing strategy

If you’ve done your homework, you should have the building blocks you need to create a well defined digital marketing strategy. You should be able to identify the marketing channels that will work best for your business. There are lots of digital marketing channels you can choose from. 

You can focus on: 

  • Content marketing
  • SEO
  • PPC
  • Display advertising
  • Email 
  • Online video
  • TV commercials
  • Mobile ads
  • Channel partnerships
  • Events 
  • Social media advertising 
  • Podcasts and radio advertising
  • Print advertising

In fact, there are more than 51 different marketing channels you can use to promote your business. Which one are you supposed to use? 

There are a few ways you can approach this. 

  1. Investing in the channels your customers use (e.g., search, social media) 
  2. Investing in the channels that give you independence and control (e.g., email, partnerships)
  3. Investing in the channels that are most common/popular (e.g., SEO, PPC, Social media) 

Start by testing the channels where there’s more overlap. 

If your customers use popular channels like Google search or Facebook, those are great places to start. If you’re looking for a channel that gives you maximum control and works well with other channels (i.e., email), you can start there. 

Don’t forget to test. 

Testing shows you what works. The tools you use for testing tend to be consistent with the channel (e.g., email comes with analytics. Google offers Google Analytics, etc.). Typically, you can branch out once you’ve identified the marketing channels that perform best for your business. 

You’re looking for stability. 

You want to get two to three channels working well before you decide to add more. Once you’ve identified your channels, use the data you’ve collected in step two to create the kind of marketing content that fits well with the customers you’ve identified.

Your content should: 

  • Attract their attention
  • Be fascinating 
  • Discuss a problem or challenge
  • Offer a solution to the problem or challenge you’ve just identified

Here’s another important detail. The research you’ve done should help you create a strong value proposition that answers the “why me?” question. Your value proposition is basically a promise. It’s the most important part of your marketing copy. 

It gives your customers a persuasive reason to do business with you. 

Your value proposition sets you apart from the competition. It gives your business an unfair advantage, and it gives you the opening you need to attract more customers, increase customer loyalty, command higher prices,  and beat your competitors. 

Here’s a detailed breakdown if you need help creating your own value proposition. 

If you’ve followed the steps I’ve mentioned above, you should have the information you need to create amazing content that draws customers in. 

4. Auditing and improving your marketing campaigns 

If you can’t measure your marketing, you can’t improve them. Part of the reason marketers waste 37 to 95 percent of their marketing budget is the lack of measurement.  Forrester’s research stated that between 60 – 73 percent of a company’s analytics data goes unused. 

Companies don’t know how to work with their data. 

  • They don’t know which problems to fix
  • They don’t know what they have 
  • They can’t see the value of their data
  • They don’t know how to evaluate or analyze their data
  • Their data isn’t available to analysts who can use it 
  • There’s too much data to go through and not enough people or time to use it

The other three steps aren’t all that helpful if you can’t see your marketing results. If you’re going to create a successful digital marketing strategy, you’ll need a plan that helps you to capture, report, and analyze the data. 

You’ll need analysts who can use your data to solve problems. 

That’s part of the problem. 

Most companies don’t have the people or processes in place to handle this. This is why it’s so important for businesses to get help. It’s too much for most companies to handle on their own — small, medium, and large companies all struggle with these issues. 

If this is the case for your organization, it may be a good idea to get help from an agency. 

You should be able to plan, implement, and optimize your digital marketing strategy.  If you can’t, it’s a good idea to get help with all or part of the process. 

Conclusion

Almost half of companies don’t have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy in place. A smaller segment of respondents haven’t connected their strategy and their marketing. Most companies are unprepared; they’re not ready to handle the requirements that come with creating their digital marketing strategy. 

If you’re feeling unprepared, don’t worry; use the information we’ve discussed as a guide. If you’re aware of the ins and outs of planning, you can create a winning digital marketing strategy in four easy steps.  

The post How to Develop a Winning Digital Marketing Strategy in 4 Easy Steps appeared first on Neil Patel.

Separate Commercial and Consumer Credit in a Recession Phase

It’s a recession phase. You may have a new small business, or are now connected because you invested in one. Or maybe you have suddenly become an owner or a manager. No matter what, here is why you need to separate your commercial and consumer credit. This is especially vital during any recession phase. And yes, that includes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit and Protect Your Personal Assets During a Recession Phase

Small business credit is credit in a small business’s name. It doesn’t link to an owner’s personal credit, not even if the owner is a sole proprietor and the sole employee of the small business. 

Consequently, an entrepreneur’s business and personal credit scores can be very different.

The Advantages When You Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit

Given that business credit is distinct from personal, it helps to secure a small business owner’s personal assets, in case of litigation or business insolvency. This truly matters most during a recession phase.

Also, with two distinct credit scores, a small business owner can get two different cards from the same vendor. This effectively doubles buying power.

Another benefit is that even new ventures can do this. Going to a bank for a business loan can be a recipe for disappointment. But building business credit, when done properly, is a plan for success.

Consumer credit scores depend on payments but also various other factors like credit use percentages. 

But for business credit, the scores truly merely hinge on if a small business pays its debts on time.

Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit: The Recession Phase Process

Building small business credit is a process. It does not occur without effort. A company has to proactively work to build business credit. 

However, it can be done readily and quickly, and it is much faster than developing personal credit scores. 

Vendors are a big component of this process.

Undertaking the steps out of sequence leads to repetitive denials. No one can start at the top with company credit. For instance, you can’t start with retail or cash credit from your bank. If you do, you’ll get a denial 100% of the time.

Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit and Build Small Business Fundability Even in a Recession Phase

A company needs to be fundable to lending institutions and vendors. 

Therefore, a small business needs a professional-looking website and email address. And it needs to have website hosting from a supplier such as GoDaddy. 

In addition, company telephone and fax numbers must have a listing on 411. You can do that here: http://www.listyourself.net

Additionally, the company phone number should be toll-free (800 exchange or similar).

A company also needs a bank account dedicated purely to it, and it has to have all of the licenses essential for operating. 

Licenses

These licenses all have to be in the particular, appropriate name of the small business. And they must have the same small business address and phone numbers. 

So keep in mind, that this means not just state licenses, but possibly also city licenses.

Recession Phase Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started with building small business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN. Get money even in a recession!

Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit  by Dealing with the Internal Revenue Service During a Recession Phase

Visit the Internal Revenue Service web site and get an EIN for the small business. They’re free of charge. Pick a business entity like corporation, LLC, etc.

A small business may begin as a sole proprietor. But they absolutely need to switch to a type of corporation or an LLC.

This is to decrease risk. And it will maximize tax benefits.

A business entity matters when it involves taxes and liability in case of litigation. A sole proprietorship means the business owner is it when it comes to liability and taxes. No one else is responsible.

The best thing to do is to incorporate. You should only look at a DBA as an interim step on the way to incorporation.

Economic Downturn Separate Biz and Personal Credit Suite

Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit and Start Off the Business Credit Reporting Process During a Recession Phase

Begin at the D&B web site and get a cost-free D-U-N-S number. A D-U-N-S number is how D&B gets a business in their system, to produce a PAYDEX score. If there is no D-U-N-S number, then there is no record and no PAYDEX score.

Once in D&B’s system, search Equifax and Experian’s websites for the small business. You can do this at www.creditsuite.com/reports. If there is a record with them, check it for accuracy and completeness. If there are no records with them, go to the next step in the process. 

In this way, Experian and Equifax have something to report on.

Starter Vendor Credit

First you need to build tradelines that report. Then you’ll have an established credit profile, and you’ll get a business credit score.

And with an established business credit profile and score you can start to get credit for numerous purposes, and from all sorts of places.

These sorts of accounts have the tendency to be for things bought all the time, like marketing materials, shipping boxes, outdoor workwear, ink and toner, and office furniture.

But first off, what is trade credit? These trade lines are credit issuers who give you starter credit when you have none now. Terms are in most cases Net 30, versus revolving.

So, if you get an approval for $1,000 in vendor credit and use all of it, you must pay that money back in a set term, like within 30 days on a Net 30 account.

Details

Net 30 accounts have to be paid in full within 30 days. 60 accounts must be paid completely within 60 days. Compared to revolving accounts, you have a set time when you have to pay back what you borrowed or the credit you used.

To begin your business credit profile properly, you ought to get approval for vendor accounts that report to the business credit reporting bureaus. As soon as that’s done, you can then use the credit.

Then pay back what you used, and the account is on report to Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, or Equifax.

Vendor Credit – It Helps

Not every vendor can help in the same way true starter credit can. These are vendors that grant approval with marginal effort. You also need them to be reporting to one or more of the big three CRAs: Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian.

As you get starter credit, you can also start to get credit from retailers. This is to continue to confirm you are trustworthy and pay on time. Here are some stellar choices from us: https://www.creditsuite.com/blog/5-vendor-accounts-that-build-your-business-credit/

Uline

Uline is a true starter vendor. You can find them online at www.uline.com. They offer shipping, packing, and industrial supplies, and they report to Dun & Bradstreet and Experian. You MUST have a D-U-N-S number and an EIN before starting with them. They will ask for your company bank information. Your business address must be uniform everywhere. You need for an order to be $50 or more before they’ll report it. Your first few orders may need to be prepaid initially so your business can get approval for Net 30 terms.

  • How to apply with them:
  • Add an item to your shopping cart
  • Go to checkout
  • Select to Open an Account
  • Select to be invoiced

Crown Office Supplies

Crown Office Supplies is an additional true starter vendor. You can find them online at https://crownofficesupplies.com. They sell a variety of office supplies and take helping clients seriously. They state, “just starting your business, or maybe have an existing business, but you have a question regarding office supplies… we are here to help!” And they report to Dun and Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax.

There is a $99.00 yearly fee, though they do report that fee to the business credit reporting bureaus. For other purchases to report, the purchase needs to be at least $30.00. Terms are Net 30.

  • Here’s how to qualify:
  • Your business entity must be in good standing with the applicable Secretary of State
  • You must have an EIN and a D-U-N-S number
  • Business address (it has to match everywhere)
  • Business license (if applicable)
  • A corporate bank account
  • Business must be at least 60 days old
  • Membership fee is $99 per year upon approval

Apply online.

Grainger Industrial Supply

Grainger Industrial Supply is also a true starter vendor. You can find them online at www.grainger.com. They sell hardware, power tools, pumps and more. They also do fleet maintenance. And they report to D&B. You must have a business license, EIN, and a D-U-N-S number.

  • To qualify, you need the following:
  • A business license (if applicable)
  • An EIN number
  • A company address matching everywhere
  • A company bank account
  • A D-U-N-S number from Dun & Bradstreet

Your corporate entity must be in good standing with the applicable Secretary of State. If your business doesn’t have established credit, they will require additional documents. So, these are items like accounts payable, income statement, balance sheets, and the like.

Apply online or over the phone.

Accounts That Don’t Report

Non-reporting trade accounts can also be helpful, even in a recession phase. While you do want trade accounts to report to at least one of the CRAs, a trade account which does not report can still be of some value.

You can always ask non-reporting accounts for trade references. And also credit accounts of any sort ought to help you to better even out business expenses, thus making budgeting easier. These are providers like PayPal Credit, T-Mobile, and Best Buy.

Store Credit

Store credit comes from a variety of retail companies.

You must use your Social Security Number and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, use the business’s EIN on these credit applications.

Fleet Credit

Fleet credit is from companies where you can purchase fuel, and repair and take care of vehicles. You must use your SSN and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, make sure to apply using the small business’s EIN.

Recession Phase Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started with building small business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN. Get money even in a recession!

Cash Credit

These are businesses like Visa and MasterCard. You must use your Social Security Number and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, use your EIN instead.

These are often MasterCard credit cards.

Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit and Monitor Your Business Credit

Know what is happening with your credit. Make certain it is being reported and take care of any errors ASAP. Get in the practice of taking a look at credit reports. Dig into the particulars, not just the scores.

We can help you monitor business credit at Experian and D&B for 90% less than it would cost you at the business credit reporting agencies. See: www.creditsuite.com/monitoring.

At Equifax, you can monitor your account at: www.equifax.com/business/business-credit-monitor-small-business.

Update Your Record

Update the information if there are errors or the information is incomplete. At D&B, you can do this at: https://iupdate.dnb.com/iUpdate/viewiUpdateHome.htm . For Experian, go here: www.experian.com/small-business/business-credit-information.jsp . So for Equifax, go here: www.equifax.com/business/small-business.

Recession Phase Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started with building small business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN. Get money even in a recession!

Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit and Fix Your Business Credit During a Recession Phase

So, what’s all this monitoring for? It’s to contest any mistakes in your records. Mistakes in your credit report(s) can be fixed. But the CRAs often want you to dispute in a particular way.

Get your company’s PAYDEX report at: www.dnb.com/about-us/our-data.html. Get your company’s Experian report at: www.businesscreditfacts.com/pdp.aspx?pg=SearchForm. And get your Equifax business credit report at: www.equifax.com/business/credit-information.

Disputes

Disputing credit report inaccuracies typically means you send a paper letter with duplicates of any proof of payment with it. These are documents like receipts and cancelled checks. Never send the originals. Always send copies and keep the originals.

Fixing credit report errors also means you specifically detail any charges you challenge. Make your dispute letter as clear as possible. Be specific about the issues with your report. Use certified mail to have proof that you mailed in your dispute.

Dispute your or your business’s Equifax report by following the directions here: www.equifax.com/small-business-faqs/#Dispute-FAQs.

You can dispute errors on your or your business’s Experian report by following the instructions here: www.experian.com/small-business/business-credit-information.jsp.

And D&B’s PAYDEX Customer Service telephone number is here: www.dandb.com/glossary/paydex.

A Word about How to Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit During a Recession Phase

Always use credit smartly! Don’t borrow beyond what you can pay off. Keep track of balances and deadlines for repayments. Paying punctually and in full does more to raise business credit scores than pretty much anything else.

Growing company credit pays off. Good business credit scores help a business get loans. Your loan provider knows the business can pay its debts. They understand the business is authentic.

The business’s EIN attaches to high scores and lenders won’t feel the need to ask for a personal guarantee. This is particularly helpful during a recession phase.

Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit in a Recession Phase: Takeaways

Business credit is an asset which can help your company for many years to come. Learn more here and get started toward building company credit. The COVID-19 situation will not last forever!

The post Separate Commercial and Consumer Credit in a Recession Phase appeared first on Credit Suite.

Best Dropshipping Companies

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It’s no secret that the ecommerce industry has been booming. As those trends continue to climb, the dropshipping market is following the same trajectory. 

Dropshipping makes it possible for anyone to run an ecommerce shop without having to purchase, store, or ship inventory. Essentially, you can operate an ecommerce site from your couch without ever touching the products you’re selling. 

But in order to do this successfully, you’ll need to find a dropshipping company to handle the logistics of fulfilling orders. 

Whether you have an existing ecommerce business or you’re new to selling online, this guide will help you find the best dropshipping company for your unique needs. Continue below to learn more about my top recommendations and strategy for evaluating different options. 

The Top 7 Options For Dropshipping Companies

  1. Doba
  2. Wholesale2b
  3. Oberlo
  4. Megagoods
  5. SaleHoo
  6. Dropified
  7. Inventory Source

How to Choose the Best Dropshipping Company For You

There are hundreds, if not thousands of different dropshipping companies on the market today. Without a buying guide to follow, narrowing down your options can seem like an insurmountable task. To make your life easier, follow the methodology that I’ve outlined below. 

These are the factors that you should take into consideration as you’re researching and evaluating different dropshipping solutions:

Type of Dropshipping Company

Dropshipping companies come in all different shapes and sizes. So the first thing you need to do is determine what type of company will meet the requirements for your business.

Do you need a manufacturer? Wholesale supplier? Supplier directory? In some instances, you might just be looking for dropshipping software to facilitate your existing supplier relationship. 

We’ll cover the types of dropshipping companies in greater detail shortly. This will give you a more detailed explanation of your options. 

Ecommerce Platform

Next, you need to make sure that the company you’re considering supports your sales platform. It’s worth noting that not all dropshipping solutions are compatible with every ecommerce website. 

For example, online stores using Shopify won’t necessarily be using the same dropshipping company as a business selling via eBay or Amazon. A brick-and-mortar retailer that wants to add an online sales channel won’t have the same needs as new business selling via Wix or WooCommerce. 

So verifying the compatibility between your online sales channel and the dropshipping company’s logistics will be a great way to narrow down your choices. 

Wholesale Pricing

In addition to the logistical benefits of dropshipping, you’ll also have access to wholesale rates. But like any type of inventory, those prices will vary from supplier to supplier. 

Some dropshipping companies force you to pay a monthly or annual membership for access to wholesale pricing. In many cases, these membership fees are well-worth the discounts you’ll get as a result. But usually, the manufacturers will offer the best rates if you buy directly through them. 

You’ll have to walk the line between what makes sense for your convenience vs. profit margins. 

Industry and Products

What products are you selling? What are you planning to sell online?

The answer to these questions will definitely impact the dropshipping company you choose. If you’re selling shirts and hats, you probably won’t have the same dropshipping needs as an online store that sells computers, headphones, and other electronics. 

Are you selling brand name products? Or will you be putting your own logo on inventory? 

These are other questions to consider as you’re evaluating prospective solutions. 

Process Automation

The best dropshipping companies leverage automation, which allows you to be as hands-off as possible. 

You need to understand the logistics between how orders get processed from company to company. What happens after a customer buys something online? How does that order ultimately end up at their doorstep? The answer varies depending on the solution you choose.

In some cases, you’ll have to manually enter those order details from your own website to the dropshipping platform. But with an automated process, you won’t have to do anything. An online order will automatically be sent to the supplier without any extra steps on your end. 

For those of you who already have relationships with suppliers, you can leverage dropshipping software to automate your fulfillment process. 

Quality and Speed

Even though you’re not touching the products with dropshipping, your company is still responsible for the product itself. 

The customer doesn’t care where the product came from or who shipped it. They expect high-quality products delivered quickly. If the dropshipping company you’re using takes weeks to ship and delivers defective products, it’s going to be a poor reflection of your company—not theirs.  

So choose a company with an established reputation in this space. You might have to pay a little extra for the inventory, but it’s worth it to keep your customers satisfied. 

The Different Types of Dropshipping Companies

As previously mentioned, there are different categories within the dropshipping space. Here’s a quick overview that explains each type of dropshipping company. This will make it easier for you to determine which type addresses what your business is looking for. 

Dropshipping Marketplaces

A dropshipping marketplace is an online platform with a network of different dropshipping companies. You’ll be able to facilitate your entire operation and manage the relationships between different dropshippers from a single place. 

This is a great option for ecommerce shops that plan to sell products in different categories sourced from multiple suppliers. It’s also a great way to shop around and evaluate different companies from a single source of truth. 

Manufacturers

Going straight to the manufacturer is one of the best ways to get the lowest possible whole inventory prices—you won’t be going through a third-party.

However, not every manufacturer will be set up to facilitate dropshipping out of the gate. So you might need to use dropshipping software to manage this relationship. Another downside of using a manufacturer is that you’ll be limited to what that manufacturer produces. If you want to sell products that they don’t make, you’ll need to source them from a different manufacturer. At scale, this can be tough to manage. 

Wholesale Suppliers

A wholesale supplier doesn’t necessarily manufacture products. But they operate warehouses with inventory from various manufacturers. 

The prices from a wholesale supplier will still be low, but definitely not as low compared to coming directly from the manufacturer (the wholesaler has to take a cut). These dropshipping companies are great for businesses that want to sell a wide range of different products in various categories. 

Supplier Directories

Supplier directories don’t actually handle dropshipping. Similar to an online marketplace, it’s a single location for you to find various suppliers. 

But to access information about these suppliers and prices, you usually have to pay a membership fee to the directory. 

Dropshipping Software

Dropshipping software is a great way for online stores to automate order fulfillment with their suppliers and manufacturers. These tools eliminate the need for ecommerce shops to manually enter order details after something is purchased through their online sales channels.

With dropshipping software, the order information gets sent directly to the supplier for fulfillment. This is faster, more efficient, reduces human error, and allows the site operators to stay more hands-off. 

#1 – Doba Review — The Most Versatile Dropshipping Company

Doba is one of the most popular dropshipping services on the market today. Its popularity is largely due to the fact that it can accommodate such a wide range of ecommerce shops with varying needs.

With Doba, you’ll have access to millions of products from hundreds of suppliers in a single online catalog. Here’s how it works:

Other noteworthy highlights of Doba include:

  • Compatible with 100+ ecommerce platforms including Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, Volusion, eBay, Amazon, etc.
  • Information on each supplier (average processing time, fulfillment rates, cost, etc.)
  • Manage product lists and discover trending products
  • Advanced search and filtering
  • Data exports in a wide range of formats
  • Inventory management tools
  • Proactive inventory and price change alerts

Plans start at $29 per month. If you sign up for an annual subscription, you’ll get two months for free. Try it free for 30 days. 

#2 – Wholesale2b Review — Best Free and Simple Dropshipping Company

More than one million products are available on Wholesale2b. The platform makes it easy for anyone to integrate dropshippers to their online store.

Wholesale2b is compatible with multiple sales channels and online marketplaces like Amazon, WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, Ecwid, eBay, Magento, and more.

Here are some of the top reasons why Wholesale2b ranks so high on my list:

  • Free to sign up; no credit card required
  • Easy to get started
  • Extensive product catalog with options from multiple categories and industries
  • 100+ dropshippers in the Wholesale2b network
  • Automatic order imports and inventory tracking
  • Ability to create a new turnkey ecommerce site from scratch

Whether you have an existing online store you’re planning to start a new ecommerce business, Wholesale2b has you covered. Sign up and try it today—it’s free.  

#3 – Oberlo Review — The Best For Shopify Stores

If you’re using Shopify to sell online, look no farther than Oberlo. The platform integrates seamlessly with your Shopify store, so you can start dropshipping with ease.

More than 100 million products have been sold online with Oberlo. 

Oberlo is free for basic use, but you’ll definitely want to upgrade to a paid plan, or you’ll be limited with what you can accomplish. Some of the top features include:

  • Unlimited monthly orders
  • Free Oberlo Chrome extension
  • Bulk orders
  • Real-time order tracking
  • Variant mapping
  • CAPTCHA solver
  • Ebooks, guides, and free learning tools
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Customizable listing information 
  • Powerful product data

Paid plans start at $29.90 per month. This entry-level plan supports up to 10,000 products. You can join Oberlo for free to get started. 

#4 – Megagoods Review — The Best For Consumer Electronics

Megagoods is my top recommendation for online retailers in the consumer electronics space. 

They provide fast shipping, efficient processing, and have a great selection of brand name electronics products. 

Here are some of the most popular product categories offered through the Megagoods platform:

  • Headphones
  • Alarm clocks
  • Car audio
  • Televisions
  • Speakers
  • Home theaters
  • DVD players
  • DJ products
  • Bluetooth products
  • PA systems
  • Portable electronics
  • Gaming products

In addition to the extensive electronics options, Megagoods also supplies items like watches, kitchen appliances, cutlery, cookware sets, and more. 

The interface is a little outdated, but a Megagoods subscription costs just $14.99 per month. This membership fee gives you access to exclusive pricing. Try it free for 30 days. 

#5 – SaleHoo Review — The Best Wholesale Directory

SaleHoo is one of the most popular wholesaler directory platforms on the market today. A membership grants you access to 2.5+ million products from 8,000+ suppliers.

With SaleHoo, you can find products and start selling them online in a matter of minutes.

For 15+ years, more than 137,000 people have used SaleHoo to sell online with dropshipping services. Here are some other reasons why they come so highly recommended:

  • All suppliers have been pre-vetted
  • Unlimited dropshipping training
  • Award-winning customer support
  • Plans are backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Market research tools for hot products and high profit margins
  • Easy to navigate with a modern interface
  • Ability to automate your online store

Annual pricing for the SaleHoo supplier directory costs $67. Alternatively, you can pay a one-time fee of $127 for lifetime access. Try it risk-free. 

#6 – Dropified Review — The Best For eBay Sourcing

Dropified is another popular dropshipping solution. It seamlessly integrates with ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and more.

Unlike other dropshipping tools, Dropfied is also compatible with eBay and AliExpress. 

If you’re using eBay or AliExpress for inventory, Dropfied eliminates the need to copy and paste customer order details. These orders can automatically be shipped to your customers directly from the supplier. 

Other top features and perks of using Dropfied include:

  • Automatic order fulfillment
  • Automatic price change updates
  • Dynamic Facebook feeds
  • Automatic product availability updates
  • Simple product variant setups
  • Easy product filtering
  • Product and inventory sync
  • Add to your ecommerce store with a single click
  • Product customization
  • Automatically import product reviews from vendors
  • Easy to change vendors for different products

This list of features and benefits goes on and on. It’s quite extensive, to say the least. Dropified plans start at $47 per month. The entry-level plan supports 15,000 products and unlimited monthly orders. Try it free for 14 days.

#7 – Inventory Source — Best Dropshipping Automation Software

Inventory Source is a bit unique compared to other dropshipping companies on our list. They provide software to facilitate dropshipping automation.

To improve the logistics with your existing suppliers, Inventory Source will be a great option for you to consider. 

Here’s why I like Inventory Source so much:

  • Integrates with 25+ ecommerce platforms (Shopify, eBay, Amazon, Walmart, Magento, WooCommerce, 3dcart, etc.)
  • Full product data integration
  • Dropship order automation
  • Automatic inventory sync
  • Free directory of 230+ suppliers
  • Ability to add your own suppliers outside of the Inventory Source directory
  • Bulk feed management tools

Overall, the software is really easy to set up. It will benefit you and your suppliers alike. Plans start at $99 per month. You can create an account for free to browse supplier product feeds, automation tools, and integrations.

Summary

The concept of dropshipping is extremely appealing for anyone interested in selling online. But it only works well if you’re using the right dropshipping company. 

Which dropshipping company is the best? It depends on your needs.

Just use the recommendations and buying guide explained in this post to find the best dropshipping services for your online store. 

The post Best Dropshipping Companies appeared first on Neil Patel.

Get a Recession Business Loan for a Restaurant

Need a Recession Business Loan a Restaurant?

If you love to cook or you love to eat but know you can do better than the restaurants and cafés in your area, you might be dreaming about opening your own restaurant. But to grow a restaurant, you are going to need business capital. In a bad economy, that means a recession business loan for a restaurant.

Like all businesses, getting started with a restaurant is probably going to mean you will need to borrow capital. Often, that will be a business loan.

Recession Age Funding

The number of US financial institutions and also thrifts has been decreasing slowly for 25 years. This is from consolidation in the marketplace as well as deregulation in the 1990s, reducing obstacles to interstate banking. See: https://www.fundera.com/blog/happened-americas-small-businesses-financial-crisis-six-years-start-crisis-look-back-10-charts

Assets focused in ever‐larger banks is troublesome for small business owners. Big banks are a lot less likely to make small loans. Economic downturns suggest financial institutions come to be much more mindful with financing. The good news is, business credit does not rely on banks.

The SBA

Many credit line varieties that most business owners imagine come from conventional banks and conventional banks use SBA loans as their key loan product for small business owners. This is because SBA assures as much as 90% of the loan in the case of default. These credit lines are the most challenging to get approval for because you must qualify with SBA and the bank.

Get a Recession Business Loan for a Restaurant from the SBA

There are two fundamental sorts of SBA loans you can commonly get. One kind is CAPLines. There are in fact 4 types of CAPLines that can work for your business.

You can also secure a lesser loan amount more quickly using the SBA Express program. A lot of these programs offer BOTH loans and revolving lines of credit.

From the SBA … “CAPLines is the umbrella program under which SBA helps business owners meet short-term and cyclical working capital needs”. Loan amounts are offered right up to $5 million. Loan qualification prerequisites are the same as with other SBA programs.

Seasonal Line

This one advances against anticipated inventory and accounts receivables. It was created in order to help seasonal businesses. Loan or revolving are on offer.

Contract Line

This one finances the direct labor and material costs of performing assignable contracts. Loan or revolving kinds are available.

Builders Line

This one was made for general contractors or builders constructing or renovating industrial or residential buildings. This line is for fund direct labor-and material costs, where the building project acts as the collateral. Loan or revolving types are on offer.

Working Capital

Borrowers must use the loan proceeds for short term working capital/operating needs. If the proceeds are used to acquire fixed assets, lender must refinance the portion of the line used to acquire the fixed asset into an appropriate term facility no later than 90 days after lender discovers the line was used to finance a fixed asset.

Get a Recession Business Loan for a Restaurant from SBA Express

You can get approval for right up to $350,000. Interest rates can be different, with SBA enabling banks to charge as much as 6.5% over their base rate. Loans above $25,000 will call for collateral.

Approval Details

To get approval you’ll need great personal and company credit. Plus the SBA states you must not have any blemishes on your report. An acceptable bank score demands you have at least $10,000 in your account over the very last 90 days.

You’ll likewise need a resume showing you have market practical experience and a well put together business plan. You will need three years of business and personal tax returns, and your business returns should show a profit. And, you’ll need a current balance sheet and income statement, therefore showing you have the funds to pay back the loan.

Collateral

To get approval you’ll need account receivables, but just if you have them. As for the collateral to offset the risk, normally all business assets will serve as collateral, and some personal assets including your home. It’s not unheard of to need collateral equivalent to 50% or more of the loan amount. You also need articles of incorporation, business licenses, and contracts with all third parties, and your lease.

Let’s look at credit lines.

Get a Recession Business Loan for a Restaurant from Credit Lines

A credit line, or line of credit (LOC), is an agreement between a borrower and a bank or private investor that establishes a maximum loan balance that a borrower can access.

A borrower can access funds from their line of credit anytime, so long as they don’t go beyond the maximum set in the arrangement, and as long as they meet all other requirements of the bank or investor including making on time payments.

Advantages

Credit lines deliver many unique benefits to borrowers including flexibility. Borrowers can use their line of credit and merely pay interest on what they use, in contrast to loans where they pay interest on the sum total borrowed. Credit lines can be reused, so as you acquire a balance and pay that balance off, you can use that accessible credit again, and again.

Learn business loan secrets with our free, sure-fire guide. We can help you get money, even during a recession.

Details

Credit lines are revolving accounts similar to credit cards, and compare to various other types of funding including installment loans. Oftentimes, lines of credit are unsecured, much the same as credit cards are. There are some credit lines which are secured, and for this reason easier to qualify for

Credit lines are the most commonly requested loan type in the business world although they are preferred, authentic credit lines are rare, and tricky to find. Many are also very hard to get approval for calling for good credit, good time in business, and good financials. But there are other credit cards and lines that few people know about that are attainable for startups, bad credit, and even if you have no financials.

Get a Recession Business Loan for a Restaurant from Private Investors and Alternative Lenders

Private investors and alternative lenders also offer credit lines. These are less complicated to qualify for than conventional SBA loans. They also demand much less documentation for approval. These alternative SBA credit lines frequently need good personal credit for approval.

Unlike with SBA, many of them don’t call for good bank or business credit approval. Most of these kinds of programs call for two years’ of tax returns. Tax returns need to demonstrate a profit. Rates can vary from 7% or greater and loan amounts range from $25,000 into the millions. Loan amounts are frequently based on the revenues and/or profits on tax returns. At times lenders may ask for other financials such as a profit and loss statement, balance sheets, and income statements.

Learn business loan secrets with our free, sure-fire guide. We can help you get money, even during a recession.

Get a Recession Business Loan for a Restaurant with Merchant Cash Advances

Merchant cash advances have quickly become the most popular way to get financing, in large part due to the effortless qualification process. Businesses with $10,000 in earnings can get approval, with the business owner having scores as low as 500.

Some sources have now even begun to offer credit lines that accompany their loans. You must have at least $10,000 in revenue for approval. You should be in business for at least one year, however three years is better. Lenders usually want to see a credit score of 650 or better for approval.

Loan amounts are usually around $20,000. Lenders normally will pull your business credit, so you ought to have some credit already and at times lenders will want to see tax returns.

Rates vary, due to the risk for this program, and there typically aren’t a lot of funding sources who offer it.

Get a Recession Business Loan for a Restaurant with Stocks/Bonds as Collateral for Financing

You can get financing despite personal credit if you have some sort of stocks or bonds. You can also get approval if you have somebody wishing to use their stocks or bonds as collateral for financing.

Personal credit quality doesn’t matter as there are no consumer credit requirements for approval. You can get approval for as much as 90% of the value of your stocks or bonds. Rates are often lower than 2%, making this one of the lowest rate credit lines you’ll ever see. You can still earn interest as you generally do on your stocks and bonds.

Credit Cards and Lines are Very Similar

Credit cards ordinarily offer 0% intro rates for up to two years. This is also rather useful for startups in particular. And credit lines let you take out more cash at a more affordable rate than do cards. These are the main two differences which will have an effect on you between credit cards and credit line.

Investopedia even says that “lines of credit are potentially useful hybrids of credit cards.”

Both cards and lines are revolving credit. Credit lines are tougher to get approval for as card approvals are often very quick, many times automated, while line require an in-depth underwriting review. Lines usually offer lower rates, according to Bankrate card rates average 13% while lines average 4%.

Get a Recession Business Loan for a Restaurant with Unsecured Business Credit Cards

Recession Restaurant Financing Credit SuiteThe majority of these cards report to the consumer credit reporting agencies. They all require a personal guarantee from you. You can get approval in general for one card at the most as they discontinue approving you when you have two or more inquiries on your report.

Most credit card companies feature business credit cards including Capital One, Chase, and American Express. These have rates similar to consumer rates and limits are also similar.

Some of them report to the consumer reporting agencies, some report to the business bureaus. Approval requirements resemble consumer credit card accounts.

Inquiries

Frequently, when you apply for a credit card you put an inquiry on your consumer report. When other lenders see these, they won’t approve you for more credit for the reason that they do not know how much other new credit you have lately obtained.

So they’ll only approve you if you have less than two inquiries on your report within the most recent six months. Any more will get you refused.

Get a Recession Business Loan for a Restaurant with Our Hybrid Credit Line

With this form of business financing, you work with a lender who concentrates on securing business credit cards. This is a very rare, very few know about program which few lending sources offer. They can typically get you three to five times the approvals that you can get on your own.

This is because they are familiar with the sources to apply for, the order to apply, and can time their applications so the card issuers won’t reject you for the other card inquiries. Individual approvals frequently range from $2,000 – 50,000.

The end result of their services is that you generally get up to five cards that resemble the credit limits of your maximum limit accounts now. Multiple cards create competition, and this means they will raise your limits, often within 6 months or fewer of first approval.

Approvals

Approvals can go up to $150,000 per entity such as a corporation. With our hybrid credit line you get three to five business credit cards that report only to the business credit reporting agencies. This is huge, something the majority of lenders don’t offer or advertise. Not only will you get cash, but you build your business credit also so within three to four months, you can then use your new company credit to get even more money.

Rates

The lender can also get you low introductory rates, typically 0% for 6-18 months. You’ll then pay normal rates after that, typically 5-21% APR with 20-25% APR for cash advances. And they’ll also get you the very best cards for points. So this means you get the very best rewards.

Like with just about anything, there are significant benefits in teaming up with a source who focuses on this area. The results will be far better than if you attempt to go at it by yourself.

Learn business loan secrets with our free, sure-fire guide. We can help you get money, even during a recession.

Qualifications

You must have excellent personal credit now, ideally 685 or higher scores, the same as with all business credit cards. You shouldn’t have any negative credit on your report to get approval. And you must also have open revolving credit on your consumer reports now and you’ll need to have five inquiries or less in the last six months reported.

Fees

All lenders in this space charge a 9-15% success based fee and you only pay the charge off of what you secure. Remember, you get a lot of extra advantages and about three to five times more cash in this program than you could get on your own, which is why there’s a fee, the same as all other lending programs.

You can get approval using a guarantor and you can even use various guarantors to get even more money. There are even other cards you can get making use of this very same program but these cards only report to the consumer reporting agencies, not the business reporting agencies. They are consumer credit cards versus business credit cards.

Benefits

They offer similar benefits such as 0% intro annual percentage rates and five times the amount of approval of a solitary card but they are much easier to get approval for.

You can get approval with a 650 score and seven inquiries (or fewer) in the last six months and you can have a bankruptcy on your credit and other negative items. These are a lot easier to get approval for than unsecured business credit cards.

With all preceding cards above, you ought to have good consumer credit in order to get approval but what happens if your personal credit is not good, and you don’t have a guarantor?

This is when building company makes a great deal of sense even if you have good personal credit, developing your business credit helps you get even more money, and without having a personal guarantee.

Get a Recession Business Loan for a Restaurant with Building Business Credit

Company credit is credit in a company name, in connection with the company’s EIN number, and not the owner’s Social Security Number. When accomplished correctly, you can acquire business credit without a personal credit check and without a personal guarantee. This is something all other cards above can’t deliver.

You can get three types of business credit cards. First is vendor credit, which offers net 30 terms to set up a business credit profile. Then is retail credit, where you will get credit cards with high limits at most stores.

Next is fleet credit. It’s credit to fuel, service, and maintain business vehicles. And then there’s cash credit, which includes Visa, MasterCard, and American Express cards that you can use anywhere. You can obtain these with no credit check or guarantee. Limits are oftentimes $5,000 – $10,000 to get started, and can exceed $50,000.

Takeaways for How to Get a Recession Business Loan for a Restaurant

Your business can get credit cards and financing, if you know where to look. Learn more here and get started toward establishing business credit. Get a recession business loan for a restaurant. And grow a business you can be proud of!

The post Get a Recession Business Loan for a Restaurant appeared first on Credit Suite.

Inbound Marketing Vs. Outbound Marketing

There are two kinds of people. 

The first group go out of their way in search of what they need

Did you find this article after doing some research? 

If so, you belong in the first group. 

The second group waits on others to suggest what they should want. 

Was this content piece forced on a feed you were scrolling via some form of paid advertising?

Yes? 

Then you belong in the second group. 

Either way, whether this article was forced on you (outbound) or you researched and found it yourself (inbound), the point is that you’re still here. 

So what does that tell you? 

It means that the difference between outbound marketing and inbound marketing boils down to getting your business in front of two different groups of people. 

That is, those who go out of their way to find your product or service when they need it. Or, those who you must go out of your way to bring your business to their attention. 

I’m not here to discuss ethical issues or tell you how inbound marketing is better than outbound marketing. 

The truth of the matter is that both approaches, be it outbound or inbound marketing, works. 

So what’s my goal with this article, you ask? 

I’ll show you how they differ from each other and when to use one approach over another to achieve what I believe is most paramount – reach the right audience and grow your business. 

Good? 

Let’s start with the basics… their definitions.

What is outbound marketing?

Outbound marketing, also known as “push” or “interruption” marketing, is the use of marketing tactics to get your business (or its message) in front of people not necessarily searching for it. 

Traditional outbound channels like TV, radio, print, radio, and billboards are there for all to see. 

In this digital era, brands and marketers still use the outbound marketing approach to reach a wide audience of people via paid ads tactics. 

Whether traditional or digital channels, the goal with outbound marketing is the same. 

Marketers use it with the hope that a fraction of the broad audience they’re targeting would take interest in their offer or message and start the journey to becoming a customer. 

But there’s a reason why the outbound marketing approach, especially those executed via display ads, gets a terrible click-through-rate of 0.06% on desktop and 0.16% on mobile.

Nobody asks for them. 

Going by that negligible display ads’ CTR, most people seem to have thrown outbound marketing out of the window. 

No reasonable person throws a baby out with the bathwater, so you shouldn’t. 

Why?

With tailored outbound tactics like cold email outreach, marketers see open rates of about 17.8% and CTRs of up to 14%. And on LinkedIn, cold messages get 3x that, according to LinkedIn’s report.

In other words, outbound marketing still works. 

The absence of a marketing strategy to determine when and how to use it, as well as to guide its execution is why most marketers and businesses fail with outbound marketing.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing prides itself as the most reasonable and ethical way to advertise a business. This approach has been in existence since 2006, about 15 years ago.  

So why are people still listening even more today? 

It’s because inbound marketing is a subtle, not-so-salesy way of attracting prospects; then, engaging them with relevant, helpful information until they become customers and advocates.

Remember the first group of people I mentioned, those who go out to find what they need?

Inbound marketers typically wait for this bunch with the right information in the form of content marketing, SEO, and social media to attract and pull them into their sales funnels.  

Inbound marketing may be non-promotional and not “forced” on people like outbound. 

But that’s not to say it’s easy or a stroll in the park when using it to attract prospects actively searching for the products or services your business offers. 

Like outbound, without a solid strategy to guide its execution, inbound marketing is difficult to turn into a growth channel.

Why?

Because it takes time, upfront investment, and excellent content creation and promotional expertise to ensure your content gets found by prospects. 

At my ad agency, Neil Patel Digital, here’s how we call this act of strategizing to create content that gets found:

From experience, I can say that the success or failure of outbound or inbound marketing hinges on this one thing: Creating content that matters for the people that matter. 

Why? 

Because when you create content that prospects really need, they’ll love to see it whether you force it on them (outbound) or they go out in search of it (inbound). 

Hence, to grow your business depends on whether you have a great strategy to guide you on when to use one approach over the other. 

I’ll talk about when to use outbound or inbound marketing.

Before that, let’s examine their differences.

3 Key differences between inbound and outbound marketing

The ultimate goal of inbound or outbound marketing is to reach prospects and get them to do business with you. 

Although the end goal is the same, these are the three core areas they differ. 

Difference #1: Pull vs push

If you create helpful content that gets discovered by your ideal customers when they’re searching for it, you’ve successfully pulled them into discovering your business as they consume that content piece. 

Now, that is inbound marketing in practice. 

This approach demands that you create content to address topics or queries prospects are already searching for, which you can find via keywords research or community forums.

Outbound marketing is the opposite of that. 

Here, you develop content with the assumption (sometimes based on trends) that it’ll capture your prospects’ interest. But since they aren’t searching for it or asked for it, you have to push it via advertising it to them. 

It’s like taking a blind shot. 

Maybe, just maybe your shot hits the target, reaching some people who’ll take interest in your “pushed” ad, discovering your business or message in the process. 

Difference #2: Generic vs specific

Outbound marketing campaigns via mediums like TV, radio, billboards, and print ads tend to be more generic. 

Why? 

Because like you, just about anybody can watch a TV show or pass a street corner with a mounted billboard. 

So to increase the chances of reaching a substantial fraction of people who may be interested in an ad, outbound campaigns tend to be more generic or try to appeal to the entire public.

For example, this ad by Ogilvy, although very creative, speaks to just about anyone that has teeth:

On the other hand, inbound marketing follows a more specific approach. 

Inbound’s core principle involves creating educational or entertaining content pieces to address a problem faced by a specific audience. 

In this case, even though everyone may have the problem, a company only concerns itself with an audience it is interested in or has experience serving. 

The result of this is the creation of content such as blogs, social media posts, newsletters, or the use of SEO techniques to optimize for targeted queries aimed at a defined audience. 

For example, see below how WebMD titled this content piece specific to fitness enthusiasts, looking to get fit at home: 

This content may not appeal to the millions of people interested in fitness as an outbound approach would aim to. 

But by creating content specific to people who want to get fit at home, WebMD still manages to drive about 4,000 visits to this content piece per month.

Difference #3: Permissive vs interruptive

People use the search engines to find answers to their questions or solutions to their problems. 

And each time your ideal customer does this, they’re simultaneously giving the search engine the permission to show them the most relevant answers to their queries. 

Hence, this permission extends to you if you’ve created a search-engine-optimized content piece the search engine finds worthy enough to show among its search results. 

On social media, prospects follow people and companies they trust.

Doing this gives those people and companies the permission to create content that shows up on their feeds. 

This same pattern plays out with email newsletters. 

When someone signs up for your newsletter, they’ve given you the permission to send them personalized emails. 

The inbound methodology is how you create and distribute content prospects permit via their actions on search engines, social media, or email opt-ins.

This makes inbound a permissive marketing approach.

Outbound marketing, on the other hand, takes an interruptive approach. 

When listening to a radio program or watching your favorite TV documentary, do you ever pause and ask them to throw in an ad?

I don’t. You don’t. And nobody does. 

But that’s exactly what you get – regular interruption of the show with advertising.  

In this digital era, marketers still use this outbound approach of interrupting people to capture their attention online. 

For example, when I scroll my social media feeds, or watch videos on YouTube, I get regular interruptions with advertising I didn’t ask for. 

Most times, I skip past them. 

Other times, an ad captures my attention, and I click through to learn more. 

Again, that should remind you of what I said earlier. 

When executed with the right strategy, both inbound marketing and outbound works. 

With that, let’s see when it’s preferable to use one approach over another. 

When to use outbound marketing

Have you ever clicked on a random ad while scrolling Facebook, LinkedIn, watching a YouTube video, or in the promotions tab of your Gmail account?

Good. 

What about when outbound advertising campaigns come up during a TV/radio show, in print, or on a billboard, have you ever proceeded to research the brand behind the ad on Google?

I have done both at different times. 

And in those cases, I wasn’t really aware of the companies or brands behind those ads until I discovered them via their outbound campaign and took interest. 

Through those outbound campaigns, I became aware of those brands – something not possible if they waited for me to come search for them. 

Hence, if you’re a new business or you just launched a new product and need to build awareness, it makes sense to use outbound marketing like TV, billboards, and others. 

The use of outbound marketing doesn’t end in traditional marketing tactics. It extends to the online space, and there’s a reason for that. 

Inbound marketing takes time

Time to build a substantial following on social media. 

Time to grow an email list. 

And if you’re trying to rank your content on Google, expect to wait at least 100 days, despite massive upfront investments. 

But with the help of an experienced marketing agency, you can intercept prospects even if they aren’t searching for you with digital outbound ads that resonate with their needs. 

Doing this can bring immediate results instead of waiting so long for your content to rank through the inbound approach. 

How can you do it, you ask?

By delving deep into analytics to identify your prospects’ interests based on their online behaviors and data touchpoints. And developing a proactive outbound marketing strategy that resonates with research-identified target audiences.

When to use inbound marketing

Both outbound and inbound marketing require upfront investments. 

As I’ve shown you, outbound marketing, when executed with an excellent strategy, can drive results faster in the short-term than inbound marketing. 

But outbound is a pay to play activity. 

So immediately you stop fueling your outbound campaigns with cash, everything falls off the cliff. 

For example, if you’re running an outbound PPC campaign for a target keyword, the moment you stop bidding, you won’t even make Google Ads’ auction. 

These days, inbound marketing won’t bring you immediate results even if you’re in a niche that is less competitive. 

And that’s because it takes time for the search engine to index, understand, and rank your content. 

In the long-term, however, inbound marketing is 62% less expensive compared to outbound tactics. Once inbound sets into motion, you can drive evergreen organic traffic, pulling visitors, leads, and customers. 

So inbound marketing is a preferred approach if you’re in business for the long-term and ready to be patient while you invest in consistent content creation.

However, nowadays, you can’t just create content here and there, fold your hand, and expect magic to happen. 

To even stand a chance in the long-term with inbound marketing, you need a clearly-defined strategy. 

This strategy must cover everything from audience research, competitive analysis, exceptional blog and social media content creation, promotion, link building, and technical stuff. 

Building your business with inbound marketing isn’t a stroll in the park and cannot be left to chance. 

You need a battle-tested program to develop a strategy that works:

Conclusion: Outbound vs Inbound marketing, which is better?

I don’t agree that one is better than the other. 

It all depends what’s best for a particular situation and on the strategy developed to execute each. 

Why do I say so, you ask?

Because when you look at the sales funnel in relation to the steps inbound and outbound marketing takes to convert prospects into customers, they have  similar structure.

So, instead of looking for which one is better than the other, it’s better to combine both.

Use outbound marketing to build awareness, reach prospects not necessarily searching for you (but may need your product/service, as identified from research) to get short-term results. 

At the same time, activate your inbound marketing engines in preparation for the long-term, as you allow the algorithms to index, understand, and rank your content.

Again, it all boils down to having a great strategy. 

And if you need help developing a one that combines outbound and inbound marketing to reach the right audience and drive business growth… 

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with my ad agency, NP Digital

The post Inbound Marketing Vs. Outbound Marketing appeared first on Neil Patel.

Ecommerce Consulting

In 2019, ecommerce sales were $3.53 trillion worldwide. 

According to Statista, that number is projected to grow to $6.54 trillion by 2023. Online shopping was a popular past time before the pandemic, but ecommerce has grown by 20 percent in 2020 alone. 

Are you ready? 

With the right preparation, ecommerce retailers can achieve double-digit conversion rates and consistent, year-over-year growth. Not sure how to achieve these results on your own? An ecommerce consultant can provide you with the step-by-step support you need to achieve these amazing results. 

3 Ways an Ecommerce Consultant Can Help Grow Your Business

The pandemic hasn’t been good for everyone. 

CB Insights found that the retail apocalypse that started in 2015 actually accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic. Small, local businesses that neglected ecommerce suffered the most. Large companies with well-known ecommerce stores filed for bankruptcy in 2020. 

These are brands you’d probably recognize. 

Brooks Brothers, GNC, Neiman Marcus, Hertz, J. Crew — these companies were all leaders in their market at one point or another. But now, 30+ of these companies are on life support. 

Online customers are pessimistic and highly skeptical. They’re choosing to work with established companies like Amazon who are willing to offer free two-day shipping. 

How’s a consultant supposed to help you survive that? 

Here are three ways ecommerce consultants can help retailers address the problems they’re facing. 

1. Precise customer targeting

In many cases, 80 to 90 percent of your marketing work is done here. This is also the most difficult part to sell to you, the client. The response is typically along the lines of: “Oh, we know that already.” A good ecommerce client knows how to test that claim. 

They do it by asking questions.

Who’s your customer; how familiar are you with their desires, goals, fears, frustrations, and problems? What are their demographics and psychographics? Do you have the answer initially, as most sellers do, or consistently?

Customers change. 

What’s okay today won’t be tomorrow. 

Here’s why that’s important. Everything your ecommerce consultant does, the effort they invest to help your business grow, it all depends on this step. You can’t create a persuasive product offer or shopper incentive if you don’t know your customers as well as you think you do. 

Your ecommerce consultant will refine your audience. 

They’ll help you find the people who are willing to spend more money with your business over time. 

2. Creating profitable offers with features and benefits

CBInsights shared a list of the most common reasons for startup failure. They listed more than a dozen categories, but most of them weren’t all that important. Don’t get me wrong; they were important, just not the most important. Here’s what was the most important thing. 

No market need. 

Forty-two percent of startups failed because they created a product with features and benefits no one wanted. Those are startups, though; things are different with ecommerce stores. 

Only they’re not. 

Research shows 90 percent of ecommerce startups fail in the first 120 days; of the remaining businesses:

  • 36 percent fail in year two
  • 44 percent fail in year three
  • 50 percent fail in year four

The biggest reason? 

Ecommerce stores focus their attention on the wrong product. Customers refuse to buy those products, so eventually, the business fails. An ecommerce consultant helps you create the right product. If they’ve enabled you to do the upfront work needed to target your customers, you should have a pretty good idea of the products customers actually want. 

3. Use Customer Pessimism to Increase Sales and Average Order Values

You’re going to have two types of customers. Optimists and pessimists. Optimists are easy to sell to but harder to keep. Pessimists, on the other hand, are harder to sell to but easier to hold.  

A meta-analysis by Bart S. Vanneste shows how this works. 

  1. Trustors (your customers) start a relationship with trustees (you). 
  2. Trustors use what scientists call “perceived trustworthiness.” That’s the fuel or spark you need to take a risk. 
  3. Afterward, trustors change their impression of you to match reality.

Here’s where it gets tricky. 

  • Optimist trustors overestimate trustworthiness. At first, they give you more than you deserve. As they’re disappointed, their trust in you decreases over time. If they’re not happy with the results, their trust continues to fall. 
  • Optimist trustors overestimate trustworthiness. At first, they give you more than you deserve. As they’re disappointed, their trust in you decreases over time. If they’re not happy with the results, their trust continues to fall. 

A great ecommerce consultant knows how to build trust with skeptical or pessimistic customers. They’re able to use your customer’s natural distrust to increase sales and revenue using helpful tactics like warranties, return policies, guarantees, and promises. 

They’ll show you how to convert this trust to revenue, increasing your sales, upsells, and average order values. 

How to Get Started With an Ecommerce Consultant

Your ecommerce consultant should be a specialist with deep expertise in retail or ecommerce. Think about your needs and the specialty and experience of the consultant. Will you be working with an individual or a team? You are looking for proven knowledge and expertise that has produced successful outcomes for other clients. You want your consulting team to be able to generate the same results for you.

They should also have experience across a broad range of marketing disciplines and channels, including:

  • Analytics
  • Email marketing
  • CRM
  • Content
  • Branding
  • Direct Response
  • Email
  • Marketing automation
  • Market research
  • Mobile
  • Sales
  • SEO
  • PPC
  • Website

Once you’ve decided on the consultant you’d like to work with, ask them to answer these questions:

  • What do you need from me?
  • When do you need it?
  • What’s your role, and what’s my role?
  • Will I have a dedicated rep to contact?
  • What’s your process for communication?
  • How can we ensure a smooth experience?

You’ll want to see that your consultant follows a process. They should provide you with clear answers to each of these questions.

Measuring the ROI of Ecommerce Consulting Services

Measuring the ROI of ecommerce consulting is pretty easy. 

If you’re tracking the right metrics, you’ll be able to measure your ROI. While there are hundreds of metrics you can track, only a few of these metrics are essential. Ask your consultant to start with the essentials, then build from there. 

Here’s a shortlist you can use. 

  • Traffic (unique visitors): The number of qualified prospects who visit your site. If you’re using a tool like Google Analytics, you’ll want to make sure you’re filtering out traffic from bots or spam. Your visits should be focused on generating traffic from qualified traffic sources.
  • Conversion rate: It’s the number of conversions divided by the number of users. You can have several different conversion goals (e.g., leads, ecommerce, likes, etc.).
  • Revenue by traffic source: This shows you which traffic source is most profitable and clarifies where you should spend your marketing and advertising dollars. 
  • Cost per action: This tells you how much it costs to generate a lead, make a sale, or upsell a particular customer. It’s an important part of your breakeven calculation used to determine whether you’re profitable (or not).
  • Ecommerce churn rate: Churn measures the number of customers leaving your business in a particular period. It’s typically a SaaS metric, but it’s now commonly used as a metric for ecommerce. If your churn is going up (i.e., customers are leaving), your revenue is declining.
  • The number of returning customers: The formula is returning customers / by total customers * 100. Returning customers have a conversion rate of 60 to 70 percent. The more repeat customers you have, the greater your revenue. 
  • Average order values: This is a formula, it’s your total revenue divided by the number of orders taken. You can increase average order values using upsells, downsells, and cross-sells. 

Your ecommerce consultant should be able to help you track these metrics. If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to focus your attention on these seven essential metrics. 

7 Point Checklist For Finding the Right Ecommerce Consultant

What should you look for in a consultant? 

If you’re looking for high-quality consultants, what sort of questions should you be asking? Are there specific details you’ll need to focus on to make sure your store attracts the right people? 

Here’s a list of the qualities and characteristics you need to find the right consultant for your business. 

  1. A good reputation: You’ll want to look for reviews, references, and testimonials. You’ll want to find a consultant with positive reviews from the majority of their clients. If your consultant doesn’t have an established reputation, you’ll want to look for content that establishes credibility and authority. 
  2. No ethical grey areas: Your consultant shouldn’t have any issues with black hat SEO or questionable tactics. There shouldn’t be a history of unethical behavior, cheating, or suspicious behavior. 
  3. Clear goal setting: Your consultant should be comfortable working with your goals and objectives. They should understand your business well enough to be able to track and manage the key metrics and KPIs you need to grow. The right consultant should be able to help you set goals, objectives, and KPIs. They should be able to help you develop your goals and objectives.
  4. Consistent ROI: Your ecommerce consultant should be able to show you that they achieved consistent results over a three to five year period. Asking for case studies and the references that go along with them is a good start. But you’ll want them to provide you with detailed figures or evidence showing that they’ve either been able to do this for themselves or other clients just like you. 
  5. Experienced ecommerce sellers: You’ll want to focus your attention on consultants who have owned, managed, or grown an ecommerce store successfully. They need to have familiarity or experience with ecommerce. They should be able to show you the store, provide you with case studies, or outline the work they did for the ecommerce brand. 
  6. Focus on customers’ first, search engines second: Consultants should create high-quality content for customers first, search engines second. The emphasis should be on attracting the right customer at the right time, for the right price, whether you’re speaking to a cold audience, subscribers, customers, followers, fans, or a combination. 
  7. Deep ecommerce expertise: Your consultant should have experience in the same industry or space. Look for in-depth knowledge and expertise with your industry, business, product, or service. If they don’t have the expertise you need, they should be able to demonstrate that they have experience with a similar ecommerce topic or niche.

These are details that high-caliber consultants, including agencies like NP Digital, provide. If you’d like your company to grow, choose consultants who meet these criteria. 

Conclusion

Ecommerce sales continue to grow rapidly. 

You can achieve double-digit conversion rates and consistent, year-over-year growth. An ecommerce consultant can provide you with the step-by-step support you need to achieve these results.  

With precise customer targeting, good products, profitable features and benefits, and some customer pessimism, your ecommerce consultant can help you achieve double-digit conversion rates and consistent, year-over-year growth.

The post Ecommerce Consulting appeared first on Neil Patel.

Excellent! Get the Best Balance Transfer Business Credit Cards in a Recession

Get the Most Awesome, Best Balance Transfer Business Credit Cards in a Recession Today!

You can get the best balance transfer business credit cards in a recession! We can show you how!

Per the SBA, corporate credit card limits are 10 – 100 times that of personal cards! This shows you can get a lot more cash with small business credit.

And this also means you can have personal credit cards at retail stores, and now have an additional card at the same stores for your business. And you won’t have to provide collateral, cash flow, or financials to get business credit.

Best Balance Transfer Business Credit Cards in a Recession: Card Advantages

Features vary, so make certain to select the perk you prefer from this range of choices.

The Best Balance Transfer Business Credit Cards in a Recession – You Can Get Luxurious Travel Points

Flat-rate Travel Rewards

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Take a look at the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business. It has an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, which then rises to $95. The regular APR is 18.49%, variable due to the prime rate. There is no introductory annual percentage rate. Pay no transfer fees. Late fees go up to $39.

This card is terrific for travel if your costs don’t come under basic bonus categories. You can get unlimited double miles on all purchases, with no limits. Get 5x miles on rental cars and hotels if you book via Capital One Travel.

Get an initial bonus of 50,000 miles. That’s the same as $500 in travel. But you only get it if you spend $4,500 in the initial 3 months from account opening. There is no foreign transaction fee. You will need a great to outstanding FICO rating to qualify.

Find it here: https://www.capitalone.com/small-business/credit-cards/spark-miles/

Bonus Travel Categories with a Sign-Up Offer

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

For an excellent sign-up offer and bonus categories, take a look at the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

Pay an annual fee of $95. Regular APR is 17.49 – 22.49%, variable. There is no introductory APR offer.

Get 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 in the initial 3 months after account opening. This works out to $1,250 towards travel rewards if you redeem with Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Get 3 points per dollar of the first $150,000 you spend with this card. So this is for purchases on travel, shipping, internet, cable, and phone services. Plus it includes advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year.

You can get 25% more in travel redemption when you redeem for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards. You will need a good to superb FICO score to qualify.

Find it here: https://creditcards.chase.com/business-credit-cards/ink/business-preferred

No Annual Fee

Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World MasterCard® credit card

For no annual fee while still getting travel rewards, have a look at this card from Bank of America. It has no yearly fee and a 0% introductory APR for purchases during the initial nine billing cycles. After that, its regular APR is 13.74 – 23.74% variable.

You can earn 30,000 bonus points when you make a minimum of $3,000 in net purchases. So this is within 90 days of your account opening. You can redeem these points for a $300 statement credit towards travel purchases.

Get unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases, everywhere, every time. And this is no matter how much you spend.

Also get 3 points per every dollar spent when you reserve your travel (car, hotel, airline) through the Bank of America® Travel Center. There is no limit to the number of points you can earn and points do not expire.

You will need excellent credit to get this one (as in, 700s or better).

Find it here: https://www.bankofamerica.com/smallbusiness/credit-cards/products/travel-rewards-business-credit-card/

Hotel Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

Take a look at the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ Card from American Express. It has an annual fee of $125. There is no introductory APR offer. The regular APR is a variable 17.24 – 26.24%. You will need great to superb credit to get this card.

Points

You can get 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after using your card to make purchases of $3,000 in the initial 3 months. Get 6x the points for qualified purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. You can get 4x the points at United States restaurants and gasoline stations. And you can get 4x the points on wireless telephone services bought straight from US service providers and on US purchases for shipping.

Get double points on all other eligible purchases.

Rewards

Also, you get a free night each year after your card anniversary. And you can earn an additional free night after you spend $60,000 on your card in a calendar year.

You get free Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status with your Card. Also, spend $35,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year and get an upgrade to Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status through the end of the following calendar year.

Plus, each calendar year you can get credit for 15 nights towards the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status.

Find it here: https://creditcard.americanexpress.com/d/bonvoy-business/

Alternatives to the Best Balance Transfer Business Credit Cards in a Recession: Business Credit Cards for Fair Credit, Not Needing a Personal Guarantee

Brex Card for Startups

Check out the Brex Card for Startups. It has no annual fee.

You will not need to provide your Social Security number to apply. And you will not need to provide a personal guarantee. They will take your EIN.

Nevertheless, they do not accept every industry.

Likewise, there are some industries they will not work with, and others where they want added documentation. For a list, go here: https://brex.com/legal/prohibited_activities/.

To determine creditworthiness, Brex checks a corporation’s cash balance, spending patterns, and investors.

You can get 7x points on rideshare. Get 4x on Brex Travel. Also, get triple points on restaurants. And get double points on recurring software payments. Get 1x points on everything else.

You can have poor credit (even a 300 FICO) to qualify.

Find it here: https://brex.com/lp/startups-higher-limits/

Check out how our reliable process will help your business get the best business credit cards, even during a recession.

Alternatives to the Best Balance Transfer Business Credit Cards in a Recession: Terrific Cards for Cash Back

Flat-Rate Rewards

Capital One ® Spark® Cash for Business

Check out the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business. It has an introductory $0 yearly fee for the first year. After that, this card costs $95 per year. There is no introductory APR deal. The regular APR is a variable 18.49%.

You can get a $500 one-time cash bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. Get unlimited 2% cash back. Redeem any time without minimums.

You will need good to outstanding credit scores to qualify.

Find it here: https://www.capitalone.com/small-business/credit-cards/spark-cash/

Flat-Rate Rewards and No Annual Fee

Discover it® Business Card

Take a look at the Discover it® Business Card. It has no annual fee. There is an introductory APR of 0% on purchases for year. Then the regular APR is a variable 14.49 – 22.49%.

Get unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, with no category restrictions or bonuses. They double the 1.5% Cashback Match™ at the end of the first year. There is no minimal spend requirement.

You can download transactions| quickly to Quicken, QuickBooks, and Excel. Keep in mind: you will need great to outstanding credit scores to qualify for this card.

https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/business/

Bonus Categories

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Take a look at the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. It has no yearly fee. There is a 0% introductory APR for the first year. Afterwards, the APR is a variable 14.74 – 20.74%. You can get a $500 one-time cash bonus after spending $3,000 in the initial 3 months from account opening.

You can earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on web, cable, and phone services each account anniversary year.

Get 2% cash back on the initial $25,000 spent in combined purchases at filling stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Get 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is no limitation to the amount you can get.

You will need excellent credit scores to qualify for this card.

Find it here: https://creditcards.chase.com/business-credit-cards/ink/cash?iCELL=61GF

Boosted Cash Back Categories

Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards MasterCard® credit card

Check out the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards MasterCard® credit card. Get an 0% introductory APR for the initial 9 billing cycles of the account. After that, the APR is 13.74% – 23.74% variable. There is no annual fee. You can get a $300 statement credit offer.Best Balance Transfer Business Credit Cards in a Recession Credit Suite

Get 3% cash back in the category of your choice. So these are gasoline stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services. Get 2% cash back on dining. So this is for the initial $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year. Then get 1% after, with no limits.

You will need outstanding credit scores to qualify.

Find it here: https://promo.bankofamerica.com/smallbusinesscards2/

Check out how our reliable process will help your business get the best business credit cards, even during a recession.

Alternatives to the Best Balance Transfer Business Credit Cards in a Recession: Credit Cards with 0% Introductory APR

Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Check out the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. It has no annual fee. There is a 0% introductory APR for the initial 12 months. Afterwards, the APR is a variable 14.74 – 20.74%.

Get double Membership Rewards® points on everyday company purchases like office supplies or client dinners for the first $50,000 spent each year. Get 1 point per dollar afterwards.

So you will need good to outstanding credit scores to qualify.

Find it here: https://creditcard.americanexpress.com/d/bluebusinessplus-credit-card/

American Express® Blue Business Cash Card

Also take a look at the American Express® Blue Business Cash Card. Keep in mind: the American Express® Blue Business Cash Card is identical to the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. Yet its rewards are in cash as opposed to points.

Get 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year. Then get 1%.

It has no annual fee. There is a 0% introductory APR for the initial twelve months. Afterwards, the APR is a variable 14.74 – 20.74%.

So you will need great to superb credit to qualify.

Find it here: https://creditcard.americanexpress.com/d/business-bluecash-credit-card/

Alternatives to the Best Balance Transfer Business Credit Cards in a Recession: Cards for Rewards

Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business

Check out the Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business. It has no yearly fee. You can get 1.5% cash back on every purchase. There is no limit on the cash back you can earn. And earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases in the initial three months. Rewards never expire.

Pay a 0% introductory APR for 9 months. Then pay 14.49% – 22.49% variable APR after that.

So you will need great to excellent credit to qualify.

Find it here: https://www.capitalone.com/small-business/credit-cards/spark-cash-select/

Check out how our reliable process will help your business get the best business credit cards, even during a recession.

Alternatives to the Best Balance Transfer Business Credit Cards in a Recession: Exceptional Business Credit Cards with No Yearly Fee

No Yearly Fee/Flat Rate Cash Back

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

Have a look at the Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card. Beyond no annual fee, get an introductory 0% APR for the first one year. After that, the APR is a variable 14.74 – 20.74%.

You can earn unlimited 1.5% Cash Back rewards on every purchase made for your corporation. And get $500 bonus cash back after spending $3,000 in the initial 3 months from account opening. You can redeem your rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel and more via Chase Ultimate Rewards®. So you will need exceptional credit scores to get approval for this card.

Find it here: https://creditcards.chase.com/business-credit-cards/ink/unlimited

Your Best Balance Transfer Business Credit Cards in a Recession

Your absolute best balance transfer business credit cards in a recession will be based on your credit history and scores. Just you can decide which benefits you want and need, so be sure to do your homework. And, as always, make sure to build credit in the recommended order for the best, fastest benefits.

The economy will change again – and your prospects for getting cards will be even better.

The post Excellent! Get the Best Balance Transfer Business Credit Cards in a Recession appeared first on Credit Suite.

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